Your vehicle tires work hard for you every time you use your car and eventually become worn down. Since tire failures while the car is in motion can be disastrous, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on what kind of shape your tires are in so that you can replace them before you’re stuck with a bigger problem.
Tread Separation: Warning Signs and Causes
Tread separation is exactly as it sounds: it’s when the tire tread begins to detach from the body (or casing) of the tire. Tires must keep passengers safe, and in order to do so there has to be a strong attachment between the metal rims, cord fabric, and rubber compounds that make up the tire.
Tread that’s detaching from the rest of the tire or becoming excessively worn increases the danger of accidents and blowouts. Routine tire inspection and learning what a defective or worn out tire looks like are good first steps to avoid tire separation. There are a few ways that tread separation can occur.
Mistakes Made During Flat Tire Repair
Sometimes, tire repair shops have the best intentions but use methods like patch and plug that are not suitable remedies on their own. If a repair shop used this method on your tire, it’s possible they could have made a mistake. If the plug tip starts to move into the crevice between the tread and the casing it can cause separation that will only get worse.
Tires are only intended to withstand use for a certain mileage. Pushing them past their limit only increases the chance of traction loss, blowouts, and tread separation.
Another great reason to drive carefully is that tread separation occurs when drivers accidentally hit potholes. It’s also considered negligent not to keep up on the maintenance. Additionally, manufacturers that were negligent can be held liable if the tires have been found to be unsafe.
Tire Blowouts: Warning Signs and Causes
If any of these warning signs are present, your tire could blow or might already be leaking slowly and you don’t want your tire to become another road alligator on the highway. If you’re wondering, “What are road alligators?” you might be surprised to find out that you’ve likely already seen one or two without knowing their quirky nickname. A road alligator occurs after a tire blowout, it’s the remaining large piece of rubber from a tire found on the side of the road.
Tires can blow for many reasons besides just becoming worn out. There could even be legal ramifications of a blowout since they can cause serious collisions.
Wear and Tear: Sidewall Cracks
Tires sometimes have issues that don’t have to do with the tread. It’s time to examine the sides of your tires. The sidewalls of the tires should look clean and shouldn’t have noticeable grooves, cuts, or tracks.
Defects in the actual tire can also cause a blowout while driving. Defects can include:
- Tread separation,
- Bead failures,
- Sidewall zipper failures, and
- Tire shredding (road alligators).
Each of these could result in danger to the driver and/or passengers.
The conditions of the road are a primary cause for blown tires. Drivers that accidentally hit potholes or sharp objects will find that their tires can burst from the pressure. This is why it’s important for drivers to avoid debris and potholes when it’s safe to do so as this can lower the likelihood of a flat tire.
Incorrect Level of Tire Pressure
Blowouts can also take place when tires are not inflated at the appropriate level (when tires are inflated too low or too high). Tires that don’t have the right amount of air will have to bend in order to grip the street. The bending motion forces the rubber to overstrain, which could result in a blowout or puncture. Drivers should be aware of their tire pressure and fill them when necessary to help ensure that changing seasons don’t push them too close to a blowout.
It’s important for drivers to prioritize tire maintenance. To easily find out whether or not your tires have had any recalls on them, you can put your tire make and model into the NHTSA Recalls database to check.